If you want to get more productive, you will want to examine how you structure your day. Otherwise, you will drift from event to event and project to project without having a plan that allows you to not only get more done but have focus. When you have a plan, you make sure that you are devoting the most time to the most important things you need to do while giving you enough time to focus on your personal passions, family, and sleep.
I’ve always viewed my calendars with three different time blocks: routines, primary projects, and support work. Things have changed somewhat since I retired from my “9 to 5.” I don’t spend as many hours operating my consultancy, but this structure made me more efficient for many years. To some extent, I still use the system. Let’s take a look at each category.
“Routine time” includes the things I do every day in the morning at home, the everyday things I do once I arrive at work, as well as blocks of time that I set aside to check email and meet with key staff.
I try to designate work time for “primary projects.” These are the things that require maximum attention. For me, mid-morning is the time of day when I seem to be at my best. So, if I arrive at my office around 9 am and spend the first hour on my morning routines, I’m ready to start significant projects by 10 am and continue for about two hours.
That ideally leaves the rest of the day for “support work.” which includes time for internal meetings, phone calls, other things on my to-do list.
That’s the pattern I have always tried to follow, on the days I would spend in the office. There were other days that I set aside for meetings away from the office.
Of course, problems arise that required me to abandon my plan. My experience was that most of these incidents happened in the afternoon, so my primary projects were interrupted less frequently, even when that happened.
My daily morning routine at work includes a review of my calendar and the tasks that I have designated for completion on that day, other deadlines, and things that I have been waiting for from clients. I also made time to walk around our offices to chat with team members. They sometimes update me on projects or ask questions. Other times we get caught up on family or sports.
My late afternoon routine also includes informal status updates with staff, email, and a look ahead to the workday
Your routine is likely to be different than mine. For example, your job might require more meeting time. In that case, try to schedule the most important meetings during the time of day when you are at your peak.
Your peak might also be later in the day. That’s up to you to figure out.
Whatever structure you establish will give you more opportunities to be more productive in the time you have at work, so you don’t feel the need to work long hours or work home.
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